April 2022 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
As I was putting together my thoughts for the April newsletter, I was reminded of why this time of year is among my favorite. Obviously, we are starting to see some beautiful weather days proving Spring is getting closer, immediately followed by 20-30 degree temperatures and some light snow. After all, we do live in Michigan, right?

One of the areas that has me more excited than usual right now is how we measure our impact and effectiveness in the community. The annual reports for our public safety departments immediately come to mind. Last month, I shared my continued gratitude for their efforts as well as some initiatives we are working on for both police and fire. An additional measurement for me is the annual State of the City. This past month, we held this in person for the first time since March of 2020. Another great sign we are in more normal times! At the State of the City a few weeks ago (which was also live-streamed), I had the privilege of sharing the great news we have to celebrate as a City. Additionally, I shared the priorities we are focused on along with the strategies to execute them. A few of the key areas shared were:

  • In order to keep ahead of our growth needs, public safety has seen an increase of 18% over the last two years of budgets.

  • Our 10-year residential growth rate of 6.3% from the 2020 census showed that we continue to be a desirous community to live in.

  • 2021 non-residential building permit values (Industrial, Commercial, and Retail) were more than $102 million, compared to an average of $40 million over the last 4 years.

  • Approximately 3,000 feet of new road was added to our industrial corridor. This is in addition to the recent extension of Northridge that allows road travel between Bristol and Fruitridge to help minimize traffic impacts on Three and Four Mile Roads.

  • Since last March, over 1,000 new jobs have come into our City at different levels.

A few thoughts from these highlights are: first, we have put a high priority on public safety so we can live, work, and grow in Walker with confidence and without worry. Second, we are making major investments in our infrastructure to keep pace with our needs and growth. Third, because we have the right priorities in place, businesses and residents want to move to Walker more than most of us can remember. It is truly a great time to be in the City of Walker.

As always, thank you to each of you for choosing to call Walker home.

Mayor Gary L. Carey, Jr.
Contact Your Commissioners
Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.
(616) 292-1715

Steven Gilbert
Mayor Pro Tem
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 828-7763 sgilbert@walker.city

Thom Burke
First Ward Commissioner
*(619) 379-6036 tburke@walker.city

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191 rdeschaine@walker.city
Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313 cglanville@walker.city

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900 echase@walker.city

Melanie Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719 mgrooters@walker.city
Clerk's Department Updates
Upcoming Election
The Special General Election will be held on Tuesday, May 3rd, to fill the vacancy in the 74th State House District for a partial term.
 
Skip the Line and Vote Absentee
Any registered voter can vote via an absentee ballot (by mail). You can email your absentee ballot request to elections@walker.city. Once we have a signed application from you, the voter, we will be able to mail your ballot to the address listed on your application. Ballots are NOT allowed to be forwarded to another address by the Post Office. If you need your ballot mailed to a different address, you must list the mailing address on your application with the dates you will be away.
 
Did You Know?
By going to MI.gov/Vote you can:
• Request an absentee ballot and vote from home
• Register to vote
• Verify you are registered to vote
• Find your polling location
• Update your address
• Track the status of your ballot
• See what will be on your ballot
City Hall Drop Box
The green City Hall drop box is accessible 24/7 for residents to drop off absentee ballot applications or ballots, and any other documents that need to go to a city department.

Upcoming Elections:
August 2, 2022 – State and City of Walker Primary Election

November 8, 2022 – State and City of Walker General Election

Up for Election this Year:
  • Ward 1 Partial 2 year Term City Commissioner
  • Ward 1 Full Term City Commissioner
  • Ward 2 City Commissioner
  • Ward 3 City Commissioner
  • Partial 2 year Term City Clerk
  • Mayor Full Term
Passports
Are you planning a trip out of the country? Do you have a passport? If not, apply early - at least 4-6 months before your planned travel, with the Walker City Clerk’s office! For those who do have a passport, don’t forget to double-check the expiration date on your passport.
 
The Walker City Clerk's Office is an official passport acceptance agency. You can have your passport photo taken here and apply for your passport! No appointment is necessary during the following passport hours:
 
Mondays – Thursdays: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Fridays: 7:30 am – 11:00 am.
 
Please call (616) 791-6865 before coming in order to confirm a processing agent is available and that you have all the proper paperwork with you, including checks for payment.

Passports are currently taking longer than usual to process. Please allow at least 11 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you. If you need your passport expedited, processing time is 5-7 weeks.
Income Tax Department Updates
Do you need help?
Walker Income Tax returns for calendar year 2021 and first quarter estimated payments for 2022 are due May 2. Forms are available on our website . You can find the most frequently asked questions here.

Quarterly estimated payments can be paid by direct withdrawal from a bank account. Forms can be found by clicking on the link above. Please do not attach your 2022 quarterly estimated vouchers to your 2021 return. Also, check your bank account to make sure the amount you requested to pay has been withdrawn. It usually takes from 3 to 7 business days after the date you requested on the voucher. If you don’t see a withdrawal for the amount you requested, contact us at (616) 791-6880.

Missing Information
Did you receive a letter that your tax return was missing a required attachment? You can provide missing information several ways:
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E-Filed Returns:
Did you e-file your 2021 return and it showed that you had a balance due? You may have received an assessment from the Income Tax Department or have a voucher from your tax preparer that shows the amount you owe. All tax due must be postmarked or paid online by May 2 to avoid penalty and interest. Call us at (616) 791-6866 if you have any questions.

Required Attachments
All resident returns must have the following attachments:
  • All form W-2s
  • Page 1 of Federal Form 1040; pages 1 and 2 of Schedule 1, if used.
Filers taking a credit for tax paid to another city:
  • Copy of page one of the other city(ies) return
If applicable: Detailed list of employee business expenses.
  • Federal Schedule C
  • Federal Schedule D, Forms 8949, 4797, 6252
  • Federal Schedule E, including Federal Schedule K-1 for all S corporations shown on Schedule E, if any.
  • Copies of all forms 1099-R for taxpayers under age 65 and form 8915-E
If you have any questions, call (616) 791-6880.
COVID Wage Allocation
If you are a resident of Walker and you worked in another city with an income tax (Grand Rapids, Ionia, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Lansing, etc.) in prior years, you may have a reduced credit for tax paid to another city in 2021. If you worked from home due to COVID-19 in 2021 and reduced the number of wages on the other city return, you must also reduce the number of wages used to calculate the credit. There is a worksheet on page 2 of the W-1040R resident return that will help with this calculation. You can also call us at (616) 791-6880 if you need more information.
Department of Public Works Updates
Fire Department Updates
Open Burning Policy Refresher
In accordance with the Code of Ordinances for the City of Walker, Chapter 34 (Environment), Section 34-55
(Open Burning), listed below are the rules and regulations for the City’s Open Burning Policy: Residential burning is allowed twice a year. The burning season begins on April 15 through May 15 and October 15 through November 15. Burning permits are free and available online. If you do not have an email account, please call our Fire Office at (616) 791-6840 and we will assist you with your burning permit.

If you do obtain a permit, the following rules will apply:
  • You may only burn on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the burning season. The burning of leaves and grass clippings is prohibited.
  • You are only allowed to burn small twigs.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO COMMERCIAL BURNING (Contractors, businesses, clearing land, etc.)
  • Burning of garbage, rubbish or any other solid waste is also prohibited.
  • Open burning shall be supervised and kept under control by an adult who shall be present at the site of the fire at all times and until the fire is completely extinguished without smoldering.
  • Fire extinguishing equipment must be readily available at the site of the fire. A supply of water must be available in the immediate vicinity of the fire.
  • Open burning is not permitted within 50 feet of any building or overhead wires.
  • Open burning is not permitted in any public street.
  • Open burning is not permitted in ditches or drainage courses other than the burning of natural vegetation growing therein (with permission from the Fire Dept.)
  • No burning in trash barrels or other containers.
  • Burning is not allowed until sunrise and must be extinguished by sunset.
  • Materials to be burned must be dry and readily combustible. The fire must be small and no black smoke is permitted.
  • Burning is not allowed when the wind is over 20 mph.
  • You must renew your burning permit every spring.

Lastly, if the Fire Department is called to your address because of a complaint from smoke or odor from your fire, and if our responding fire officer determines that your burning is causing a health hazard or nuisance to your neighbors, you will be asked to extinguish your fire.
Police Department Updates
Bike Rodeo
Walker PD is happy to be involved in THREE community events in April. First, we are partnering with other area police departments to host a “bike rodeo” at Rivertown Crossings Mall. This event is for kids 10 & under. They're encouraged to bring their bike & helmet for a safety check and skills activities. There will be many bikes raffled off as well as swag from all the police departments involved. The bike rodeo is April 7 from 1-3 PM outside Dick’s Sporting Goods. In the event of rain, we will move the event under a covered parking area at the mall.
Community Outreach Series
We will be hosting a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events course at City Hall on April 14 from 6:30-8:30 PM. This presentation will be led by our Community Outreach & Engagement Officer and highlight practical response options should you ever find yourself stuck in an active threat situation. This presentation is for everyone & offers ideas for business, church, & school leaders to take back to their buildings, discuss, and implement. Please RSVP for this event by emailing mharkema@walker.city.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Don’t forget that the Walker Easter Egg Hunt is back on for April 9 at City Central Park, beginning at 11 AM sharp! Stop by to look for eggs with our officers & other great partners. Keep an eye out for golden eggs to win special prizes! In the event of rain or storms, the egg hunt will be moved back to April 16. This map will show you where to park and enter the park.
Department Training
In March, we wrapped up department training highlighting shooting in low light or no light scenarios, as well as new conflict de-escalation strategies backed by Force Science Institute research. Resulting from the latter, we are sending two officers to Novi this month to attend an extended training on the topic where they will be certified to become de-escalation instructors.
Walker Ice and Fitness News
Parks and Recreation
Spring Soccer
Thank you for your overwhelming response to our 2022 Spring Soccer Program! We had a record number of kids register and all of our teams are FULL. We ask for your patience as we assemble teams, assign coaches, and work on game schedules. It's such an exciting time, we are looking forward to another fun season, thanks to all of you!!
Memorial Day Parade
The Memorial Day Parade has been a Walker tradition for many, many years. Please join us in honoring those veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. All veterans, bands, floats, scout troops, businesses and organizations are invited to participate in this year’s parade. The Memorial Day parade is on Monday, May 30 at 12:00 noon on Remembrance Road. The deadline to register for the parade is Monday, May 2, 2022. Entry forms are available via our online registration portal.
KDL Walker Branch News
Career Online High School now offers an introduction to manufacturing career certificate as an option for Career Online High School students. The manufacturing certificate program teaches students manufacturing concepts and prepares them for entry-level employment in the manufacturing industry. Some examples of what you’ll learn are supply chains, basics of electricity, hydraulic systems, and more.

This program is completely free via scholarships thanks to generous donors for those that qualify. To be eligible you must be 19 years or older and be a resident of Kent County. If interested, fill out a survey today!
KDL Vibes
Calling all local musicians! Kent District Library is now accepting submissions to KDL Vibes, our new streaming platform that features music from West Michigan musicians.

KDL Vibes is an online collection that showcases all the incredible music that can be found in West Michigan. Musicians who would like to have their music considered for the collection are invited to submit a sample track from their album using the online form at vibes.kdl.org. After submitting the form, a jury consisting of members of West Michigan’s local music community and library staff with music backgrounds will review and select 25 new albums to add to the collection. These musicians will be paid a $250 honorarium for their contribution as a way for the library to support the vibrant arts community. Musicians looking for more information or who have any questions can click here or email the team at vibes@kdl.org. To submit your music, visit vibes.kdl.org/submit.
New American Sign Language Learning Resource
Kent District Library is pleased to add ASLdeafined to its collection of free online resources. The content is for anyone who wishes to learn American Sign Language, regardless of age. This resource was created by and for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. ASLdeafined is aimed at those with hearing loss, their families and friends, and anyone in the hearing community that would like to learn and use ASL. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Hearing Disorders, one in eight people in the US ages 12 and older have hearing loss in both ears. Visit the website to get instant access to over 300 lessons, a video dictionary of over 15,000 words, and other tools and resources to boost your learning.
Spring Events
KDL will be offering a combination of virtual and in-person spring programming! Visit our Events page for more information.

Our featured Walker Branch event is 90’s Crafts! Thursday, April 7 at 2:00 pm.
Suitable for Teens (ages 11-17). Teen-only fun for you and your friends at the library! Stop by for 90's themed activities that include games, crafts, food and more.
Around the County
The Grand Valley Metro Council (GVMC) is conducting an Airport Access Study for the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The study is investigating ways to improve access to the airport as well as the surrounding roads, freeways, walking and biking networks, and bus system. You can help give them valuable feedback by taking part in the survey below.
Friends of Walker Trails News
Are you following the Friends of Walker Trails on Facebook? Follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker!